Edited by Vani Rao
Facebook fourth-quarter revenue shines on accelerated mobile ad sales
Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) fourth-quarter revenue jumped 63%, beating Wall Street estimates, as mobile ad sales continued to grow. The company said that revenue from mobile ads accounted for 53% of its total advertising during the quarter compared to 49% in the third quarter. The company now boasts of 1.23 billion monthly users, with almost 945 million accessing the service on a smartphone or tablet. The overall revenue in the fourth quarter rose to $2.58 billion, compared with $1.58 billion in the year-ago period, and above the $2.33 billion estimate. Facebook reported net income of $523 million, or 20 cents a share, versus $64 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding certain items, Facebook said it earned 31 cents a share.
Boeing reports strong profit; spooks on outlook
Boeing (NYSE:BA) reported strong fourth-quarter profits, beating analysts’ expectations. However its conservative profit and cash flow forecasts spooked investors, sending the stock down. The company said core earnings rose 29% to $1.84 billion, or $1.88 a share, as it delivered record numbers of its 737, 777, and 787 series of aircraft and increased production rates. Boeing said it still plans to return as much cash to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends as promised. Boeing’s quarterly core net income was $1.88 a share compared with $1.46 a share a year earlier. Revenue rose to $23.8 billion from $22.3 billion in year-ago period. Analysts had expected core earnings per share of $1.57 for the fourth quarter with revenue of $22.7 billion. The shares of the company ended down 5.15%.
Qualcomm slightly misses expectation
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) posted higher first-quarter revenue that slightly missed expectations as smartphone growth shifted from developed economies to China. The chipmaker reported first-quarter revenue of $6.62 billion, up 10% from the year-ago period. Analysts on an average had expected first-quarter revenue of $6.67 billion. Qualcomm posted first-quarter net income of $1.88 billion, down 2%. Its non-GAAP earnings per share were $1.26. The company said that revenue for the second quarter, which ends in March 2014, would range from $6.1 billion to $6.7 billion. Analysts on an average had expected second- quarter revenue of $6.72 billion.
Dow Chemical raises buyback plan, resists spin-off pressure
Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) hiked its dividend and tripled its share buyback program. The company increased its buyback from $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion, all of which it will buy back this year. Dow Chemical raised its first-quarter dividend by 15% to 37 cents per share. Sales rose 13% in the fourth quarter. Net income available for common stockholders was $963 million, or 79 cents per share, in the quarter ended December 31. Revenue rose 3% to $14.39 billion. The company also signalled that it was in no hurry to fall in line with activist shareholder Daniel Loeb’s demands to spin off its slow growing Petrochemical businesses.
Biogen profit rises on new multiple sclerosis drug
Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) said its new, high-profile oral multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera, reported sales of $398 million in the fourth quarter, exceeding estimates for a third straight quarter and keeping it on track to top $1 billion in its first year of launch. Some of those sales were due to US inventory stocking ahead of a 10% Tecfidera price increase in December. Biogen said its fourth-quarter profit jumped 57%, fuelled by increasing sales of Tecfidera. The net profit rose to $457.3 million, or $1.92 per share, from $292.1 million, or $1.23 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding special items, Biogen earned $2.34 per share, topping analysts’ average expectations by 6 cents. Total revenue rose 39% to $1.97 billion, edging past the analysts’ estimates of $1.93 billion.
EMC’s result misses estimates, approves restructuring
EMC Corp.’s (NYSE:EMC) net profit rose 17% to $1.02 billion, or 48 cents per share, in the fourth quarter from $870 million, or 39 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, the company earned 60 cents per share. Revenue rose 11% to $6.7 billion. Analysts on an average had expected earnings of 59 cents per share on revenue of $6.63 billion. The company said it approved a restructuring plan consisting of job cuts that would be “substantially” be completed by the end of the first quarter and result in a charge of $100-120 million. The company forecast adjusted earnings of 35 cents per share on revenue of about $5.39 billion for the next quarter. Analysts on an average were expecting earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $5.8 billion.
WellPoint profit slumps following divestments; issues lower guidance for 2014
WellPoint’s (NYSE:WLP) net profit slumped 68% to $148.2 million. The results included a loss of $164.5 million after tax charges from the sale of its subsidiary, 1-800-Contacts, and an increase in the usage of medical services in the last quarter, prior to the cancellation of medical plans by the end of 2013. During the fourth quarter, the insurance provider generated $148 million in net income, or $0.49 per share, compared with earnings of $464.2 million, or $1.51 per share, in the year-ago period. Its revenue increased 16% to $17.9 billion from $15.44 billion in the year-ago quarter. WellPoint has projected an EPS of around $8 in 2014, lower than its earnings in 2013, excluding special items. Wayne DeVeydt, CFO of the company, explained that the 2014 outlook represents the negative impact of approximately $100 million from the policy changes related to the implementation of Obamacare in the US.
Coming up in the next 24 hours
The world’s largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon (NYSE:XOM), is expected to report a drop in fourth-quarter profit amid slipping crude oil prices and sliding production. Exxon has kept its disparate unit under one roof, while many of its competitors have abandoned the integrated model, resulting in frustration among investors seeking higher returns.
Tech giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) would report its fourth-quarter results after the market close. The company has made a good start in the fight to dominate mobile advertising online, and is now steadily expanding its devices and video business efforts. The game now is to meet those lofty expectations and show that it remains at the forefront of tech innovation.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the online bookseller that transformed itself into one of the most dominant and diverse technology powerhouses under a decade, will offer signals about consumer and technology trends when it releases holiday-quarter results. Investors will watch for plans on 2014 investments in areas ranging from fulfilment centres to digital media. The company is expected to report after the closing bell.
Visa (NYSE:V), the world’s largest credit and debit card company, is expected to post higher first-quarter earnings, led by an increase in consumer spending. However, concerns remain regarding the impact of a strong US dollar and an increase in recent hacking incidents that led to the theft of millions of card records. Investors will keep an eye out for comments regarding the steps that the company will take to ramp up securities for its card users and if there has been any impact from these incidents on the way that Visa conducts business. The results are expected before the market opens.
Diageo plc. (NYSE:DEO), the world’s largest spirits company, will report half-yearly results, and analysts will be keen to hear how sales are faring, especially in emerging markets. Analysts will also want to know the company’s perspective on the announcement of the $16- billion takeover of rival Beam, a company that Diageo was keen to establish synergies.
Blackstone (NYSE:BX) is expected to report another strong quarter as the value of its assets kept rising. However, investors will be focused on the outlook for 2014 and the potential for further sales of assets.
Results from The Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) will show investors whether the strong demand for chocolates has continued its momentum through the holiday season. It will also give insights into how consumers responded to the company’s Lancaster Soft Cremes chocolates, the latest brand to be launched after 30 years, in January 2014. Wall Street would also be keeping an eye on its 2014 sales outlook and business plans in China.
Diversified manufacturer 3M (NYSE:MMM) is expected to post higher earnings, helped by steady sales growth across all its businesses. Investors will want to hear more from the company, whose products range from Post-It notes to film for flat-panel televisions, about its acquisition targets after 3M said last month it plans to spend $5-10 billion on deals through 2017. The company is scheduled to report before the bell.
Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) reports fourth-quarter results before the opening bell. The motorcycle maker, grappling with reduced demand for big bikes in its key US market as well as tough headwinds in some of its international markets, is hoping to grow sales and profits.
Whirlpool’s (NYSE:WHR) outlook for 2014 will be in focus when it reports fourth-quarter results. The US-based maker of home appliances had a strong year in 2013, beating analysts’ estimates and raising its full-year EPS forecasts.
Audio equipment maker Harman (NYSE:HAR) is expected to have done well in the second quarter as European luxury carmakers, its biggest customer base, reported strong performance. This was mainly attributed to the economic recovery in the region and higher sales of low-priced cars.